National Geographic : 2005 Nov
Well, darlingest one, I can't possibly tell you what a relief it was to know our child was born alive and that you must have recovered from it sufficiently to have him christened Alan, a name I like immensely.... I am simply dying to get your first letter to hear all the details. As you can imagine what a hell it is to be a prisoner of war under Japanese hands, not even allowed to know the sex of one's child until he is over 14 months old.... Oh for your letter, Beloved. -Clifton Johnson-Hill,to his wife WORLD WAR TWO Alan Johnson-Hillholds a portraitof hisfather,Clifton, painted with homemade dyes by afellow POW in a Japanesecamp. Captured defending Singapore in 1942, the Englishmanendured hunger, disease, and backbreakingdays building the Thai-Burma Railroad.He also risked torturefor keeping a secret diary, written in the form of letters to his wife, who had escaped to Australia while pregnantwith Alan. Since the Japanesedestroyed most of the incoming mail, Clifton learnedof Alan's birthfrom anotherpris oner. Fatherand son first met after the war when Alan was four.